You’re still using a BLACKBERRY?

I’ve heard this one more than one occasion. At press conferences, nights out with friends, even from family members as they whip out their shiny iPhones to take photos of my phone (#relic). Granted that the BlackBerry is not longer the status symbol it used to be, but I’ve hung onto mine for a good number of years.

Don’t get me wrong, my smartphone evolution has been an interesting one. I hopped from the ancient 8-bit Nokia phones on to the Nokia 6500c before finally succumbing to an HTC Hero followed by an HTC Desire. The move to the Android system took a bit of time to master, but once I was in I loved it. In fact, I still do – I frequently review Android tablets and phones and it’s amazing to see just how far the platform has come.

But a few years ago, I did the unthinkable. I left the safety of the Android fold and dived headfirst into BlackBerry. At the time it was the BlackBerry 9800, which I still continue to use today. I’ve long been tempted to swing back to Android, but I held out knowing that BlackBerry was cooking up something with BlackBerry 10.

So now that the phone is out (read our review here), it’s somewhat of a no-brainer that I’m going to be lining up to get it as soon as it’s officially available. Why, you may ask?

I’m long overdue
My 9800 is ancient. It’s certainly seen better days, as the barrage of scratches and minor dents in the case will tell you. It’s also running version 6.0 of the BlackBerry OS, which is a really slow thing to try and navigate around at times. Having played around with the Z10 I forgot what it was like to have a speedy and seamless mobile experience, and it left my 9800 in the dust.

Messaging means nothing to me
Whether you’re in the BBM or WhatsApp camps, I don’t care. I’ve got a grand total of 10 people on my BlackBerry Messenger contact list, and sadly four of those people I work with. I often just prefer sending an SMS or actually calling the person up rather than having to put up with the constant “ding” noise as we furiously message each other.

I’m not a mobile paparazzi
I admit to taking the odd photo or two with my current BlackBerry, but I really don’t use my phone for serious photography (unless you include photos of cupcakes as serious photography). I’m certainly not an Instagram user or enjoy posting an endless stream of photos of what I’m eating, so for me smartphone cameras aren’t a deal-breaker. From what I’ve seen, the camera on the Z10 is seriously more than what I need.

Clouds are for rainy days
Get it on the cloud! Back it up on the cloud! Sync it to the cloud! These are some of the things I hear when people yammer to me about dumping your files onto the Cloud for a seamless backup. If my BlackBerry should die, I just pop the microSD card out and pop it into a new BlackBerry to access all my media, and then just re-sync my emails and contacts. I don’t have to worry about running out of or paying for extra space (like my sister recently experienced with her 2,000+ baby photos on her iPhone), and everything I need remains on the phone.

Goodbye buttons
For reasons unknown when I jumped from Android to BlackBerry for the first time, I was adamant that I get a device with a physical keyboard. I don’t know why, but maybe I was under the delusion that a physical keyboard meant that I could type faster. For some people, that’s true. For me, it’s actually become cumbersome for me to type on a QWERTY keyboard, since I used to enjoy the on-screen keyboard of my previous Android devices. The brief time I spent typing on the Z10 showed me a keyboard that made typing much more comfortable (even without flicking words upwards), and easier than trying to squint at the keyboard in the dark.

It goes where I go
The biggest asset for me with a BlackBerry is that it just works wherever I go. I travel frequently, and I really can’t depend on spotty airport wi-fi points or spending hours in a Starbucks accessing my emails. I need connectivity pretty much anywhere I go, and in this regard having a BlackBerry is a huge bonus. I’ve attending countless press conferences where hundreds of journalists have overwhelmed the lone wi-fi hotspot that’s available, while I just pull out my BlackBerry to tweet or email photos. I’ve got friends who have iPhones with roaming packages, and they regularly complain about how expensive it is to use data packages when they travel. Of course, you could always get a local SIM card, but then you’ve got to whole new phone number to work with, not to mention keeping an eye on your usage.

Having said all this though, the BlackBerry Z10 is certainly not without its flaws. The software is new and already there are plenty of changes that can be made to it to help refine the user experience. But as someone who has been holding out to see what BlackBerry was cooking up, the Z10 is going to be a well-deserved upgrade for me, and I’m looking forward to when it hits retail stores in a few weeks.


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